The United States and partner nations launched their first airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, as fighting raged Monday between the extremist group and Kurdish forces near the border with Turkey, triggering a surge of tens of thousands of refugees.
The Pentagon said a mix of fighter jets, bombers and Tomahawk missiles fired from ships in the region targeted the Islamic State group. Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said that because the military operation is ongoing, no details could be provided yet. He said the decision to strike was made early Monday by the military.
The strikes are part of the expanded military campaign that President Barack Obama’s authorized nearly two weeks ago in order to disrupt and destroy the Islamic State militants. The U.S. has already launched 190 airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq since an aerial campaign began Aug. 8.
As the fighting in Syria has moved closer to Turkey, the government is facing increasing pressure to step up efforts to take on the Islamic State extremists.
The Islamic State group’s offensive against the Syrian city of Kobani, a few miles from the border, has sent 130,000 refugees to seek safety in Turkey in the last few days. The conflict in Syria had already led to more than 1 million people flooding over the border in the past 3½ years.